What Is An Estate Plan, What Are Its Elements, And Why Are They Important
George Gray talks about estate plans
Hello and Welcome. My name is George Gray. I’m a partner in the law firm of Gray and Feldman with offices in Penfield NY. My areas of practice include wills, trusts, and estates and providing special needs planning for families of an individual with a disability.
During the course of my representation, I am often asked “what is an estate plan, what are its elements, and why are they important”. First off, let’s talk about what is not an estate plan. An estate plan is not just preparing a will, it’s something more. It’s a matter of planning for your personal and financial future. It’s designed to answer the question who is in control. Who is in control of your legacy at your death and who is in control of your assets during your lifetime if you’re not capable of managing them. The elements of an estate plan – there are four of them. The first is a will or a revocable living trust. A will is a document you prepare now to take effect when you die. It answers the questions “who is in charge”, that is the executor, “who does my estate go to”, that is the beneficiaries of the estate, and “who are the persons that I appoint in key positions” including a guardian of my minor children or perhaps a trustee of a trust. A revocable living trust is something you prepare now to manage your assets during your lifetime and dispose of those assets at your death. It’s a little different than a will in that in effect, it’s managing your assets during your lifetime and it is a document that will allow you to avoid probate. Avoiding probate is not necessarily a bad thing